Over the years waste has become an issue of major global concern. Current waste management systems are collapsing under pressures caused by unmitigated urban growth, a growing consumerist culture as well as traditional approaches of collection and disposal. The traditional solution has been to dump waste on low-lying areas near the city's outskirts. These areas are often, and mistakenly, called landfills. But are landfills the answer to waste management problems, keeping in mind the priority area of environmental and health impacts? The answer is clearly NO. Even as this debate rages, local governments have been trying to turn more vacant places into dumpyards instead of looking for sustainable waste management practices. The principle of the ‘3 Rs’ has seldom been considered by any municipality in India.
In an effort to create sustainable waste management models based on community participation, and in partnership with other concerned agencies, Toxics Link has developed decentralized waste management systems focussing on the simple principles of segregation, composting and recycling recovery. Such systems have been able to reduce waste going to the dumpyard by more than 70%, thus saving land and reducing pollution. This, in turn, also saves natural resources.